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Bats and Mosquito’s

Across the country, families are taking advantage of the warmer weather by spending more quality time outdoors. This year, as families prepare to host a variety of outdoor gatherings, mosquito prevention and protecting against mosquito bites should be part of our daily awareness.

Mosquitoes transmit numerous diseases and are often described as one of the deadliest animals on the planet. This year, the Zika virus has made the mainstream news and has become a cause for public concern, especially for women who are or planning to become pregnant. As it is unknown how Zika will spread, particularly in the U.S., practicing caution is warranted. "Proactivity and public cooperation are huge components of mosquito prevention," said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs at the National Pest Management Association. "Homeowners play an important role in helping to reduce mosquito populations and can work to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds throughout the season. "Fortunately, there are several important measures the American public can take in protecting against the diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.

The NPMA is urging homeowners to help in eliminate mosquito breeding grounds on their properties and practice vigilance in wearing proper attire to protect against bites: Remove all sources of stagnant water. Standing water can be found in areas such as gutters, buckets, flowerpots and bird baths. Mosquitoes only need 1/2 inch of standing water to breed, so it is essential to minimize these areas to reduce offspring. Wear an insect repellent containing DEET or another EPA-registered ingredient to help prevent mosquito bites. The NPMA, in partnership with the CDC, developed an instructional video on how to properly apply insect repellent. Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Also take proactive measures during the day to protect against daytime biters like the Asian tiger mosquito, the main carrier of Zika. When outdoors, wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and closed-toe shoes. When hosting guests outside, keep the air moving. Using a fan where you and your guests may lounge makes it less likely mosquitoes will land on you. These pests are not strong fliers, so circulating air can make an outside gathering more pleasant. By following these tips and actively working to prevent mosquitoes on the home front, you will help reduce the risk of you and your family getting bitten by mosquitoes this season.

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We should not kill bats! Why?

How Bats Affect the World Ecosystem

Bats have important jobs. If you think they just hang around and waiting for an opportunity to swoop down and scare people for fun, you haven’t heard the whole story. Bats hunt damaging insects that destroy beneficial plants, including ones that end up on our dinner plates. In fact, some bats can catch and consume up to 2,000 insects per night. Many bat species fertilize plants with their guano, and some even pollinate plants and spread seeds that ensure forest renewal. In a nutshell, we need bats. Unfortunately, these allies to the plant kingdom are becoming threatened through diseases and natural habitat destruction. 

What Is Happening to American Bats? 

Recently, bats have come face to face with an even deadlier foe than humans. An unusually resistant fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans is the cause of the mysterious “white-nose syndrome” that has all but decimated bat populations in America. The fungus makes its appearance as a light dusting of white on the noses and wing tips of affected bats. It’s not clear how white-nose syndrome kills bats, but it seems to wake them up too early from their hibernation. Because there is little or no food available in the cold temperatures, the bats starve to death. If bat populations continue to dwindle, the problem will have an enormous impact on the U.S. agriculture industry, which relies heavily on bats for natural insect control. 

What to Do When You Discover Bats

If you discover little brown bats hanging out in your personal space, don’t try to kill, remove, or otherwise disturb them. Instead, notify animal control immediately. In doing so, you could actually help save the species. While we don’t want bats in our homes, we do want them to survive.